You’re probably familiar with the phrase “elephant in the room.” In the unlikely event you’re not, it refers to a difficult topic about which everyone is painfully aware, but that is so uncomfortable that nobody is willing to mention it publicly. It’s like the flask Aunt Sadie carries in her purse — everyone has seen it, but nobody will ever admit to that.
Companies and organizations are often vexed by their own elephants. Maybe it’s a deficiency in a product. Maybe it’s an advantage a competitor has. Maybe it’s a past mistake or a scandal that left a stain on the organization’s image.